Slipping the e book into the deep pocket of her skirt, Kate turned to the window. Sighing, she wished the thick, crinkled glass allowed her extra view of the countryside surrounding their manor home. She was all the time happiest when her mom allowed her to trip her horse or wander in freedom the meadows surrounding her residence. On this gray, misty morning, the one factor she might actually make out was the stately tower of Saint Andrew’s church. Built by her nice grandfather when he took possession of this property, it had proclaimed to all his lordship of Rochford, a lordship that continued all the way down to her grandfather. It reminded her she had proper to pleasure—and the fitting to say her place along with her royal aunt, quite than stay right here, hidden away along with her too usually smooth mom who lacked all hint of ambition ~ The Light within the Labyrinth.
Mary Boleyn – Public Domain
I depend myself as lucky. I’ve walked necessary paths as soon as trod by the folks whose lives have impressed my Tudor novels. As an Australian, this isn’t a simple feat to realize. It is an extended technique to England—and never low cost to get there, or to remain there.
One of my analysis journeys occurred in 2012, once I was deep into writing The Light within the Labyrinth, my second revealed Tudor novel. Writing The Light within the Labyrinth added many ‘must see’ locations for me to analysis. One of them was Rochford Hall, a property as soon as owned by Mary Boleyn. Rochford Hall is in Essex—so going there meant one other journey to England. Nowadays, what stays of Rochford Hall is a Golf Club.
Mary Boleyn was Anne Boleyn’s sister. She additionally was Henry VIII’s mistress for a time. I consider Henry VIII fathered her daughter, Katherine, however that’s one of the various mysteries which encompass Mary—each in life and loss of life.
I’m all the time grateful for mysteries. As a author of historic fiction, I’m free to depend on my intuition to fill within the gaps of historic data. What historical past makes clear is Mary Boleyn married her second husband as a result of she liked him. She stated of William Stafford that she would quite beg her bread with him than to be the best queen in Christendom (Cited by Ridgway 2016). Her marriage to Stafford resulted of their banishment from court docket. These details fed my creativeness and constructed up in my thoughts a girl who desired to be as far-off from the court docket as attainable. Somewhere to seek out that ‘poor, honest life’ she wrote about in her letter to Thomas Cromwell (Cited by Ridgway 2016).
In Tudor occasions, it will have taken days to trip from Essex to London. Travel was onerous within the sixteenth century, usually fraught with hazard and challenges. On my go to to Rochford Hall in 2012, I noticed unmade roads changed into mud baths in moist climate. I imagined making an attempt to surmount these similar roads by foot or horse. If Mary Boleyn desired distance from the court docket, which I consider she did, Rochford Hall was the proper place to offer her that distance. I’m nonetheless inclined to argue she lived at Rochford Hall. Weir’s biography of Mary Boleyn (Weir 2012) could give trigger and pause for doubt, however I nonetheless consider it.
Rochford Hall – ©Wendy J. Dunn
The Domesday e book notes a manor home on the location of Rochford Hall in 1086. Anne Boleyn’s ancestor, James Butler (or Boteler), the fifth Earl Ormonde and 1st Earl of Wiltshire started constructing what we all know as Rochford Hall within the fifteenth century. Boteler arms seem on the purple Tudor brick tower of St Andrews Church. Margaret Butler, the mom of Thomas Boleyn, the daddy of Mary, George and Anne Boleyn, inherited Rochford Hall. When I used to be writing The Light within the Labyrinth in 2012, I believed Mary Boleyn made her residence on the Hall along with her second husband, William Stafford, remaining there till her loss of life on nineteenth July 1543, when the corridor handed to Henry Carey, her seventeen-year-old son (2020 Clubhouse History).
St Andrews Church by John Salmon, CC BY-SA 2.0
But Mary didn’t inherit Rochford Hall till shortly earlier than her loss of life (Weir 2012). Where she lived throughout her years of banishment stays shrouded within the mists of time. Shrouded by those self same mists is the place Mary died and was buried. Sitting within the pretty St Andrews church on that moist day in 2012, I listened in fascination as Maurice Draper, an area historian, informed me of its historical past. One factor Maurice appeared very sure of—Mary Boleyn was not buried on the church. If she was not buried on the church, then it follows her loss of life possible didn’t happen at Rochford Hall. So the place was she buried? St George’s Chapel at Windsor is talked about as a chance—as is the Carey vault at Westminster Abbey, however each these locations have dependable burial data. Both omit the entombment of Mary Boleyn.
Interior St Andrews Church, ©Wendy J. Dunn
Interior St Andrews Church, ©Wendy J. Dunn
I’ve usually questioned in the event that they entombed Mary along with her mom at Lambeth Church in London. When I requested my Tudor historical past educated buddy, Valerie, what she thought of that chance, she didn’t cross it off my listing. Valerie additionally informed me of a legend saying that they had buried Mary at St Mary’s Church, Chilton Foliat—a church believed constructed within the thirteenth century, with each Carey and Stafford connections. William Carey, the primary husband of Mary Boleyn was in all probability born and raised in a manor home, now misplaced to historical past, near this church (Weir 2012). At St Mary’s Church there’s a piece of stain glass bearing shut similarity to the Boleyn falcon (Chilton Foliat, Wiltshire | Anne Boleyn, Tudor period, Tudor, 2020). I’m questioning now if this falcon solutions the query about Mary Boleyn’s final resting place.
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Clubhouse History : Rochford Hundred Golf Club, Southend On Sea, Essex. [online] Rochfordhundredgolfclub.co.uk. Available at: https://www.rochfordhundredgolfclub.co.uk/historical past/clubhouse_history/
Ridgway, C., 2016. Mary Boleyn’s Letter to Thomas Cromwell – The Anne Boleyn Files. [online] Claire Ridgway. Available at: https://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/mary-boleyns-letter-thomas-cromwell/
Weir, A 2012. Mary Boleyn, London: Vintage.